June 13: Incoming president eulogizes Nkurunziza
Burundi’s president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye today visited the presidency where he signed a book of condolence opened for the late president Pierre Nkurunziza.
He arrived at Ntare House along with his wife and an entourage, signing the book of condolence opened since Wednesday before delivering an address in which he eulogized his predecessor.
The Constitutional Court directed on Friday that there was no need for an interim president and that as president-elect, Ndayishimiye should be sworn in as soon as possible. There has not been any dates announced by government yet.
Cabinet, led by first VP Gaston Sindimwo, had sought interpretation of relevant transition laws at a time when most analysts said National Assembly speaker Pascal Nyabenda was expected to be sworn in till the investiture in August of the president-elect.
June 12: Burundi court rules president-elect should be sworn in
Burundi’s should swear-in president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye as incumbent as soon as possible, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled today.
Cabinet, led by the First Vice President, at an extraordinary session on Thursday referred transition issues to the court seeking interpretation of relevant laws.
The vacuum at the presidency was occasioned by the death on Monday of Pierre Nkurunziza, who had been president since 2005 and was due to hand over to Ndayishimiye in August.
Experts said the speaker of parliament, Pascal Nyabenda, should have been appointed acting president – which situation did not take place.
Ndayishimiye, run on the ticket of the ruling CNDD-FDD party, winning the May presidential election. The opposition unsuccessfully contested the vote which they insist was tainted but the Constitutional Court rejected their petition.
June 11: Cabinet meeting resolutions
Burundi’s cabinet issued a statement after an extraordinary session to discuss the way forward in a post-Nkurunziza era. The statement signed by Prosper Ntahorwamiye, government spokesperson, addressed constitutional issues relative to transfer of executive authority.
It stated that the cabinet was seeking constitutional directives from the constitutional court arguing the need for the two vice-presidents to take interim charge till a substantive president is sworn into office.
In the other matters section of the release, government announced a suspension of all irreligious music in public places during the period of mourning for the former president. A seven-day national mourning was announced on June 9, a day after the death occured.
The government statement said music in bars, nightclubs and karaoke sessions were suspended. Mayor of the commercial capital, Bujumbura, Freddy Mbonimpa in a separate statement confirmed the ban but clarified that gospel music was allowed.
A position that governor of the capital, Gitega, Venant Manirambona also echoed. In Bujumbura leisure activities were suspended during the mourning period. Only wedding parties, funerals and mourning wakes are allowed, he said.
June 11: Burundi cabinet wants apex court to declare presidency vacant
Burundi will seek constitutional interpretation on how to proceed over the power vacuum created by the death of president Pierre Nkurunziza on June 8.
The First Vice-President, Gaston Sindimwo, today (June 11) chaired an extraordinary Council of Ministers – cabinet – meeting which agreed to refer the issue to the apex court.
Cabinet wants the court “to declare the vacancy of the post of President of the Republic following the death of Pierre Nkurunziza,” a tweet by the VP’s office said. The country is observing a one-week national mourning period.
The vacancy will pave the way for the appointment of a replacement for the former president. Nkurunziza was due to handover power in August to Evariste Ndayishimiye who won May 2020 elections.
Reports after the demise of Nkurunziza suggested that the Head of National Assembly, Pascal Nyabenda, was expected to play the acting role till the investiture of Ndayishimiye. Meanwhile, more dignitaries continue to troop to the state house to sign a book of condolence opened since Tuesday.
Among those that have signed the book are wife of the president-elect but Ndayishimiye himself have yet to do so. Denise Nkurunziza, wife of the former president, also returned from Kenya yesterday where she had been seeking treatment for an undisclosed medical condition.
In the issuance of condolences to the government, Chad for instance addressed its official message to Vice-President Simdimwo whiles the Botswana president addressed his message to Pascal Nyabenda referring to him as President of National Assembly and Acting President of Burundi.
US statement: On the Passing of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza
The United States extends its condolences to those mourning the loss of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. We remain a committed partner and friend to the Burundian people.
Following a peaceful transition to President-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye, we look forward to working with him and the new government. We reaffirm our support for Burundi’s aspirations for a more democratic, prosperous, peaceful future.